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Hardwood Supplier: Forest Products Associates. Greenfield, MA

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Review by thiel posted 1276 days ago 4137 views 5 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Hardwood Supplier: Forest Products Associates. Greenfield, MA No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

NOTE:—Photos and Videos at the Bottom... scroll down!—

Where I used to live, there was a so called “incredible” hardwood supplier who had a showroom of almost 800 square feet in which to display oak, cherry, poplar, and walnut. Occasionally, they’d get some additional “special” species. Oh, and EVERYTHING was S2S. Boy was I clueless!

When I moved to my current town two years ago, I had a heckuva time locating a hardwood dealer. I searched online forever and came up empty… and then finally got to know some guys in the trades and they pointed me to Forest Products Associates, in Greenfield MA (about 10 miles from me).

When I first went out there, I was blown away. First, they have a zillion species of wood (ALL ROUGH); many I’ve never heard of. But there’s more to it than that… :

Organization:
Forest is the cleanest and well organized lumberyard I’ve ever seen. Each species has dedicated rack space, and the racks themselves are spacious and multi-tiered. Materials are well supported and easy to sort through. They will cut down a piece if you need it, if only you’ll leave 3ft or so remaining.

Grading System:
Forest employs their own special grading system—which is marked on every board—and they sort the boards, by grade, into their vertical racks. So, if you’re looking for super duper wood, it’s in the top of the rack. If you’re doing drawer bottoms, look lower. The Forest Grades are (quoted from their website):

—QQ stands for Quartersawn Quality.
—Top grade (QS) is “Quality Special”, clear 2 face, straight and flat.
—Next is (Q1), “Quality One”, clear minimum 1 face, and allows up to 1/4 inch bend, bow or cup.
—Next is (Q20, “Quality Two”, allowing defects on 2 faces and up to 1/2 inch bend, bow or cup.
—QZ designates twist or other problem “not good enough to be a Q2”.
... and they also have designations for color/sap variation.

Labeling
EVERY board is labeled with its rating, the number of board feet it contains, and its length. (See the photos.) Every rack bay has the name of the species and the price per BF at the different quality ratings. This is HUGE for two reasons: 1) it makes payment a snap… no calculators or rulers involved and 2) it makes it easy to know what you’re buying. In some cases I’ve loaded the lumber and just brought a cell phone photo of the board ends to the checkout.

Relationships
Clearly, these guys have the right relationships. I remember hearing Norm lament that he could barely find enough mesquite to make a couple bookcases; well, at Forest they have pallettes of the stuff. If Christopher Schwarz demands that you make a benchtop from a 5×24x96 inch cherry slab, they say “No problem, we can get that for you.” 12/4? Yup! Gigantic live edge slabs? Yup! Crazy species? Yup. Need access to an industrial resaw? They know a guy. Need a huge amount of material for a house? There’s a mill round back. Can you get me a few boards of Unobtainius Woodicus? It will be here Monday.

Perhaps best of all, they treat me right—even though I’m not a big contractor coming in for hundreds of board feet. Chuck (and Chuck) and Sue know wood—to the point where you can simply tell them the material properties you’re looking for and they can designate a species. When buying Spanish Cedar one time, Sue reminded me to wear a mask: “Dangerous dust?” “No… just makes your lips taste terrible!”

I give these guys my highest recommendation, and if you’re within an hour drive or so, I think you’d find it well worth the trip (I’m looking at you Dusty56!)

Oh.. and did I mention that they can provide you with 100% FSC certified lumber if you want? That’s sorted and labeled too!

Here are the vitals:

Forest Products Associates
75 Oak Hill Rd
Greenfield, MA 01301

Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. Saturday 8:00 a.m. -Noon

Phone: 413-772-6833
Fax: 413-774-5691

info@forestproductsassociates.com
http://forestproductsassociates.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Forest-Products-Associates/144183872270553

And here’s some photo and video of the joint:

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5289/5347516537_d0d36d2c79_b.jpg

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5286/5347516243_88df856bd9_b.jpg

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5289/5348126242_6cb5bd9db0_b.jpg

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5162/5348125996_eaa9dc092d_b.jpg

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5128/5348125744_1f2a10c8dc_b.jpg

AND HERE’S A BRIEF VIDEO PANORAMA:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidthiel/5348166166/

-- Laziness minus Apathy equals Efficiency




View thiel's profile

thiel

359 posts in 1876 days



9 comments so far

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11638 posts in 2272 days


#1 posted 1276 days ago

I’ve been a customer of theirs for years , my friend , and have already shared the knowledge with others here on LJs and elsewhere….I’m on their E-mailing list as well …how about you ?
You better come and visit me at the Woodworking Show this weekend at our LJ booth !!!
I’ll be in the booth on Saturday and Sunday : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View thiel's profile

thiel

359 posts in 1876 days


#2 posted 1276 days ago

LOL… I think I was their first facebook fan. Super place… don’t know why it never occurred to me to review them before.

I’ll be there this weekend. Probably Sunday but who know… gotta wrangle the kids.

-- Laziness minus Apathy equals Efficiency

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11638 posts in 2272 days


#3 posted 1276 days ago

I was just up in Gill ,MA this afternoon …picked up some 16” wide Tiger Striped Red Oak , some QSWO , some Tiger and Birdseye Maple and a sweet piece of Mahogany from a Craigslist ad.
Yeah , it was worth the trip from Westfield : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8475 posts in 2232 days


#4 posted 1275 days ago

looks like a real nice selection. thanks for the headsup!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

14818 posts in 1772 days


#5 posted 1275 days ago

Nice place you wrote about, thx for the pics and posy.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Lenny's profile

Lenny

1222 posts in 2111 days


#6 posted 1274 days ago

Thanks David. It is a bit of a haul from RI but certainly do-able on occasion and/or when just the right species, size, etc. is needed.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View gotshop's profile

gotshop

2 posts in 1274 days


#7 posted 1273 days ago

Thanks for the post, it is always good to know where I can get some stock from. Does anyone know of anyplaces that donate to schools?

-- Shop Class- turing big wood into small wood and and small wood into sawdust

View bigike's profile

bigike

4030 posts in 1872 days


#8 posted 1273 days ago

thanks for the post.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://www.icombadaniels@yahoo.com

View jonah's profile

jonah

428 posts in 1882 days


#9 posted 326 days ago

I’ve been to FPA a few times, and have had nothing but positive experiences there. The reviewer is correct in just about every particular. I got great service, decent prices, and a good product. Can’t ask for better than that, especially for a small hobbyist.

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